But on Tuesday, current FCC commissioner Ajit Pai called those same regulations a " heavy-handed, utility-style.mistake" and pledged to stop the federal government from "micromanaging" the internet by introducing a new set of "internet freedom" regulations. He distributed his alternative plan to other FCC commissioners Tuesday in preparation for a December 14 vote on the proposal, and promised to release his entire proposal Wednesday.
"Net neutrality" regulations, created to prevent internet service providers like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Charter from favouring some sites and apps over others, are on the chopping block.
"Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that's best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate", he said.
"We're very encouraged by Chairman Pai's announcement today that the FCC will move forward next month to restore the successful light-touch regulatory framework for internet services", Verizon said in its statement.Meanwhile, Donald Trump expressed his opposition to net neutrality in 2014 before the regulations were even implemented, calling it a "power grab" by Obama.
Net neutrality is the principle that all online traffic should be treated equally. That's good for shareholders, he said, but not good for consumers, who might see higher costs passed through to them.
Several internet companies are strongly opposed to the move.
"The removal of antiquated, restrictive regulations will pave the way for broadband network investment, expansion and upgrades", Spalter said in a statement.
A USA appeals court past year upheld the legality of the net neutrality regulations, which were challenged in a lawsuit led by telecommunications industry trade association US Telecom.
In the long run, net-neutrality advocates say undoing these rules makes it harder for the government to crack down on internet providers who act against consumer interests and will harm innovation.
The proposal puts Pai, who was appointed by President Donald Trump, into position to kill a rule that survived a court challenge from broadband providers a year ago.
"What Chairman Pai has proposed is risky and wrong, and he's going about it in the most incoherent and incompetent way possible".
"Internet companies, innovative startups, and millions of internet users depend on these common-sense protections that prevent blocking or throttling of internet traffic, segmenting the internet into paid fast lanes and slow lanes, and other discriminatory practices", Google said in a blog post at the time. The FCC granted initial approval to Pai's plan in May, but had left open many key questions including whether to retain any legal requirements limiting internet providers conduct.